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All right, our own Russell Hammond kicks this off today with the usual weekly update of the Release Dates & Artwork section. As always, a portion of anything you order from Amazon after clicking through to them from our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we really appreciate it!

Now then… here’s something exciting for you catalog fans: 20th Century Fox is bringing Willow to Blu-ray/DVD Combo on 3/12 in honor of the film’s 25th anniversary. The film has been given a new digital transfer and restoration by Lucasfilm and contains all-new extras including deleted scenes with commentary by Ron Howard, the Willow: An Unlikely Hero diary of Warwick Davis, the original 1998 The Making of an Adventure featurette with all-new Ron Howard introduction, the From Morf to Morphing: The Dawn of Digital Filmmaking documentary with all-new Dennis Muren introduction, a gallery of matte painting artwork and Easter eggs. See the cover artwork below.

Fox has also set The Sessions for Blu-ray and DVD release on 2/12, featuring 5 featurettes (John Hawkes Becomes Mark O’Brien, Helen Hunt as the Sex Surrogate, The Women Who Loved Mark O’Brien, Writer/Director Ben Lewin Finds Inspiration and A Session with the Cast) and deleted scenes.

Warner Home Video and the BBC have set the documentary Africa for Blu-ray and DVD release on 2/26 (SRP $34.98 and $29.98). Also, The House of Cards Trilogy: Special Edition is due on Blu-ray and DVD on 1/15 (SRP $49.99 and $39.98) and David Attenborough’s Life Stories is due on Blu-ray and DVD on 2/12 (SRP $29.98 and $24.98).

And Universal has set Silent Hill: Revelation for release on Blu-ray 3D Combo, Blu-ray Combo and DVD on 2/12. Extras will include the A Look Inside Silent Hill: Revelation featurette.

Here’s a look at the Blu-ray cover artwork for Fox’s Willow and The Sessions, and Summit’s Alex Cross (street date 2/5). Only Alex Cross is currently available for pre-order on Amazon but we’ll update the links when the others go live…

Willow (Blu-ray Disc)    The Sessions (Blu-ray Disc)    Alex Cross (Blu-ray Disc)

As always, stay tuned!

- Bill Hunt

All right, we’ve got a couple more interesting title announcements for you, mostly on the catalog front.

First, Olive Films has set the 1958 version of Les Miserables for BD release on 2/19 (SRP $29.95) along with Don Giovanni (1979). On 1/22, look for The Quiet Man: 60th Anniversary Edition (1952) and It’s in the Bag (1945).

Here’s something cool for you genre fans: Shout! Factory has announced the Blu-ray release of Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann on 3/19 (SRP $19.93). Shout! has also just set Futureworld for Blu-ray release on 3/26 (SRP $19.93). Recall that Warner has Westworld coming on Blu-ray on 3/5 (SRP $19.98). In addition, Shout! has From Beyond and Phantasm II set for BD release on 3/5 (see cover artwork below).

Also, Sony has set Here Comes the Boom for Blu-ray Combo and DVD release on 2/5 (SRP $35.99 and $30.99).

Entertainment One has set War of the Dead for Blu-ray/DVD release on 1/8 (SRP $24.98 and $19.98).

Millennium Entertainment and Action Slate have Dead Sushi on Blu-ray and DVD on 1/22 – the BD is exclusive to Best Buy.

And Blue Underground will release Fifty Shades of De Sade on BD on 4/23.

In other news today, Warner has just released a new trailer for Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel (see below). Looks pretty good. I’m cautiously optimistic.

Back on the Star Trek into Darkness topic, there’s a bunch of new spoilers for the film that are leaking out around the net today, so take care when you go searching around. If you’re trying to go into the film with a fresh slate with it hits theatres next year, be careful what you read!

Here’s a look at the BD cover art for Shout!’s Timerider and Phantasm II and Fox’s Life of Pi (BD3D - TBA)…

Timerider (Blu-ray Disc)    Phantasm II (Blu-ray Disc)    Life of Pi (Blu-ray 3D)

Stay tuned…

- Bill Hunt

Morning, folks! Hope you all had a fine weekend as we head toward the Christmas holiday. Sarah and I spent much of last week in Philadelphia visiting her step-father, which was nice but obviously a bit sad as well given the events in our lives of the last year. We did manage to take a quick day trip by train to New York City. What a great place that is! I had to drop by the Hayden Planetarium and the American Museum of Natural History – two of my favorite places in NYC. Sadly there was no time to visit The Strand bookstore, but we walked the length of The High Line park, got a slice of pizza at Grand Central Station, took in the Christmas lights at Rockefeller Center and went to a Christmas show at Radio City Music Hall. I even managed to drop my Midtown Comics on the way back to the train, where George Takei was about to do a signing. Pretty cool. All in all, not bad for 12 hours!

Anyway, somehow I managed to get updates posted all last week except for Friday, which was our travel day back to California. As I’m sure you’re all aware, the first teaser trailer for Star Trek into Darkness broke late on Thursday. Pretty interesting. A second trailer is supposed to be unveiled this week sometime, and then 9 minute of film will be shown in front of select IMAX screenings of The Hobbit starting later this week. Based on the teaser – and comments from friends who are (or are connected to) Star Trek production insiders – I’m fairly certain I know who the villain is. I have to say I’m cautiously excited. Hard not to be – it’s Star Trek for heaven’s sake! No it’s not the same as classic Trek of old, but then nothing could be. And I enjoyed the first of the reboot films, so fingers crossed this one will be at least as enjoyable.

Speaking of fingers crossed, this is obviously Hobbit week – the first film in the planned trilogy, An Unexpected Journey – opens on Thursday. Matt and I have our plans all lined up to see the film in 48fps 3D. We’re pretty excited about it. In fact, we’d planned to start out the week by attending a digital screening of The Lord of the Rings: Extended Edition marathon on Saturday. But fate was not on our side – about 40 minutes into The Fellowship of the Ring, a power transformer blew outside the theater we were in (the Edwards Spectrum 21 & RPX in Irvine) and the entire theater went dark. Power company estimated the repair time at 6-8 hours so the whole screening was cancelled! It was a total bummer. The films sure looked and sounded great – what little we saw of them anyway. We’re hopeful Regal and Fathom Events will reschedule the screening this week… we’ll see.

All right, so let’s run down the latest announcement news…

Amazon.com is now showing Warner’s Argo for Blu-ray/DVD Combo release on 2/19 (SRP $35.99 but Amazon has it for just $25.19). There’s no cover art or official announcement yet but we’d expect one soon.  Same drill with Warner’s Cloud Atlas Blu-ray - it’s available for pre-order on from Amazon with a 2/5 street date (SRP $35.99 but Amazon again has it for just $25.19). Amazon also has Fox’s Life of Pi Blu-ray 3D and Paramount’s Flight Blu-ray available for pre-order with no street date listed.

Sony has set Aladdin and the Death Lamp for DVD only release on 2/12, followed by Company of Heroes on Blu-ray and DVD on 3/19. Extras on Company will include deleted scenes and 2 featurettes (In the Trenches: Filming Company of Heroes and Fabricating World War II). Sony also has Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning for Blu-ray and DVD release on 1/22. Included will be audio commentary with director John Hyams and Dolph Lundgren and the 3-part Days of Reckoning documentary (including Coming into Focus, There Is No End and Production Wrap).

Lionsgate has set Alex Cross for Blu-ray and DVD release on 2/4, followed by Sinister on both formats on 2/19.

MTV and Paramount have set Jersey Shore: The Final Season for DVD only release on 3/19.

Nickelodeon and Paramount have Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Rise of the Turtles coming on DVD only on 2/26.

And retail sources tell us that Disney and Pixar are tentatively set to release Monsters, Inc. 3D on Blu-ray 3D Combo on 2/19.

Here’s a look at the Blu-ray cover artwork for Disney’s Monsters, Inc. 3D and Sony’s Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning and the DVD art for Sony’s Robot and Frank (due 2/12)…

Monsters, Inc 3D (Blu-ray 3D)    Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning (Blu-ray Disc)    Robot and Frank (DVD)

Stay tuned…

- Bill Hunt

We're kicking things off here at The Bits today with a new Blu-ray Disc review. Our own Tim Salmons has checked in with his thoughts on Warner's recent Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows: Parts 1 & 2 - 2-Film Ultimate Edition Blu-ray box set. Enjoy!

In release news today, Warner Home Video has begun announcing the DVD release of some of those Samuel Goldwyn they got the rights to last year. On 1/15, look for Wuthering Heights (via HBO), The Best Years of Our Lives, The Bishop's Wife, Guys and Dolls, Hans Christian Andersen and The Pride of the Yankees. There's no word yet of Blu-ray releases, but we're looking into it.

Speaking of HBO (via Warner), look for Veep: The Complete First Season on DVD only on 3/26.

Warner has also begun soliciting many of those catalog titles recently licensed for BD and DVD release from Paramount. Watch for a huge list of them to start arriving in stores on 1/1 on both formats. It doesn't appear to include anything new yet - it look to all be titles that have been previously available.

Image Entertainment has set The Beverly Hillbillies: Collector's Edition (a "Best Of" Set), BMF: The Rise and Fall of a Hip-Hop Drug Empire, Bonanza: Collector's Edition (another "Best of") and The Solomon Bunch for release on 2/5, followed by The Complete Adventures of Flash Gordon (4 pack), The Cyclist, Hitler's Forgotten Nazis and Naked City: 20 Star-Filled Episodes on 2/19, and a David E. Talbert Triple Feature (What Goes Around Comes Around, Love in the Nick of Tyme and Mr. Right Now!), Fast Girls and Nobody Gets Out Alive on 2/26. All are DVD only.

On the Disney front, I'm sure many of you heard about their big digital distribution deal with Netflix from the other day - starting in 2016 Netflix will get exclusive digital rights to the entire Disney library of titles, including Pixar, classic animation and live action, and even the Star Wars and Marvel franchises. In the realm of physical discs, it appears that the studio may be finally getting ready to release The Muppet Movie: Nearly 35th Anniversary Edition on Blu-ray next year - a trailer for the title appears on their new The Odd Life of Timothy Green Blu-ray. This would be in addition to the Who Framed Roger Rabbit?: 25th Anniversary Edition that's already planned for release in HD in 2013. Thanks to Bits reader Bill M. for the update.

Also, we've hard back from 20th Century Fox about that Die Hard: 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray box set due on 1/29. It will include the theatrical cut of Live Free or Die Hard only. A LOT of your have been hoping for the unrated cut on Blu-ray and rest assured we've let Fox know this.

And finally today, Bits reader Sidney S. sent us this interesting bit of news: It seems that the BBC have officially remastered the first color Doctor Who story from way back in 1963 – Spearhead from Space – and they're releasing it on Blu-ray in July worldwide as part of the Doctor Who 50th anniversary celebration next year (7/13 is the tentative street date).

That's all for now. Stay tuned...

- Bill Hunt

All right, more announcement news today...

First, Sony has set Company of Heroes for Blu-ray and DVD release on 3/19, based on the THQ video game of the same name. A pair of featurettes will be included as extras.

Inception Media Group has set Pathfinder: In the Company of Strangers and Ghost Trap for DVD only release on 1/8.

PBS will release NOVA scienceNOW: Can I Eat That? on DVD only on 12/11, followed by Cuban Missile Crisis: Three Men Go to War, NOVA ScienceNow: Can Science Stop Crime? and NOVA ScienceNow: What Are Animals Thinking? on 12/18. PBS will also release Frontline: Climate of Doubt on DVD only on 1/1/2013.

Warner Home Video will release Tom and Jerry: Pint-Sized Pals on DVD only on 3/5 (SRP $19.97). Shorts included on the 2-disc set will include Love That Pup, Babysitting Blues, The Dog House, Game Set Match, That’s My Pup, Happy Go Ducky, Hic-cup Pup, That’s My Mommy, Pup on a Picnic, Little Quacker, Puppy Tale, Southbound Duckling, Barbecue Brawl, Just Ducky, Endless Bummer, Cat Show Catastrophe, Little School Mouse, Kitty Foiled, Robin Hoodwinked, Ho Ho Horrors, Jungle Love, The Two Mouseketeers, Royal Cat Nap, Touché, Pussy Cat!, The Vanishing Duck, Mice Follies, Cat Nebula, The Egg and Jerry, Adventures in Penguin Sitting and Tot Watchers.

Image Entertainment has set The Devil's in the Details for Blu-ray and DVD release on 2/7.

Also Kino Lorber have announced their February Blu-ray and DVD release slate as follows: On the Kino Lorber label, look for The Pool on DVD only on 2/5, followed by Hipsters on DVD only on 2/19 and Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow on DVD only on 2/26. On the Redemption Films label, look for the Satanic Cults Collection (including Satanic Sluts: The Black Order Cometh, Satanic Sluts II: The Black Masses and Satanic Sluts III: Scandalized) on DVD only and Die Screaming, Marianne, House of Whipcord: Remastered Edition, Schizo: Remastered Edition and The Comeback: Remastered Edition on Blu-ray only on 2/12, followed by Jean Rollins' Zombie Lake: Remastered Edition and Jess Franco's Oasis of the Zombies: Remastered Edition on Blu-ray and DVD on 2/26.

Discovery Channel has set Surviving the Cut 2 for DVD only release on 1/15, followed by Finding Bigfoot on 1/22 and Your Worst Animal Nightmare on 1/29.

And Sony has set The New Girl for DVD only release on 1/22.

Stay tuned!

- Bill Hunt

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